On June 15th, 1995, by a vote of 19-9, the Board of Directors of the Alaska Federation of Natives passed a resolution in favor of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration. Four delegates abtained and four others were absen t. Prior to the vote, the Board received a presentation from Jacob Adams, chairman of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, who actively supports oil development in the Refuge. Teleconferencing calls to the Board offering support for oil development wer e also received from Gov. Tony Knowles, Senator Ted Stevens, Willie Hensley, state commissioner of commerce and economic development and co-chair of the AFN, and John Shively, state commissioner of natural resources. One teleconference speaker, Ada Deer, Assistant Director for Indian Affairs of the Department of Interior, spoke in opposition to the resolution.
Strongly opposing the decision were AFN representatives of the Gwitch'in Athabascan villages of the Upper Yukon region of Northeast Alaska and several of their supporters including the representative of the Tanana Chiefs Conference, an organization involving numerous Athabascan communities in Alaska's interior.
Norman Chance, Convener, Arctic Circle